Posts Tagged ‘Zechariah 1’

Rebuilding Our Relationship with God

The book of Zechariah is one of the two key books of Old Testament prediction that are primary sources for the symbolism of Revelation.
The prophet Zechariah lived at the same time as Haggai and was interested in the same effort: to induce the Jews to carry on the rebuilding of their neglected Temple. 
But if all we had was Haggai to go by, we might conclude that all God was really interested in was the temple. However, Zechariah gives the rest of the story, and shows how God is interested in lives, not only buildings. It is so ironic how parallel this is with our call to live Beyond Ourselves and to minister to people instead of erecting buildings!
The prophecies of Zechariah are dated a few years later than those of Haggai. In contrast to the direct and simple language of Haggai, Zechariah employs many figures and symbols to enforce his message. 
He especially wished to give encouragement and help to the leader and governor of the people, Zerubbabel, and the priest, Joshua. I’m challenged to consider how I can be an encouragement to the priest/pastor at St. Philip’s especially during these community-wide difficult times.
In the latter part of the book there are many pictures of the glorious and happy future which God had in store for His people and of the Deliverer Who was to come to rule over them. There will come a great day when “the Lord shall be king over all the earth.”
The name Zechariah means “The LORD Remembers,” and is a fitting name for a prophet of restoration. 
  • He was called to encourage and mobilize God’s people to accomplish a task that they began yet lost momentum in completing. 
  • He encourages them indirectly by telling them about God’s care for them and by keeping the presence of the Messiah very much in their minds. 
  • He worked with others, notably Haggai, Zerubbabel, and Ezra. 
  • He warned them of the consequences of neglecting God’s work and he emphasized that God wants to do a work through His people. 
Let us pray the Holy Spirit will jump start us with divine momentum yet again as we forge ahead into our next seven years at St. Philip’s!
Zechariah is shown eight visions in the first 6 chapters. In them he is not a passive observer. He is actively involved and free to question the angel God has provided as a guide. The meaning of most of these visions is explained in their context. Their focus is God’s intention for Jerusalem and Judea as history moves on and as the end time comes. Many of these themes are picked up in Revelation. Two of these visions are in chapter one.
A Vision of Pardon and Restoration

Zechariah does not slur over the sins of the past, but lays stress on divine forgiveness. His only fear is lest God should call in vain and the people refuse as their fathers did. 
Notice the repetition of God’s title Lord Almighty five times in the first six verses. The enemy’s armies were vast, but the protecting hosts vaster! A glimplse of these hosts is given in the following vision. 
A green valley filled with myrtles, the emblem of humility, where the prophet may have spent his time meditating, seemed alive with mysterious horsemen who had been patrolling the earth. The four report to the angel of the Lord that the world is at rest and peace. This is not good news for Judea. 
Haggai proclaimed just a few months before that the nations must be shaken before Messiah comes and Jerusalem’s peace is assured. God is angry with the nations of the world because they are at ease while God’s people suffer. 
In God’s thinking if the earth is at rest at the expense of His people, there is no rest at all. Sure, the nations offered to help God’s people, but even their help was polluted by evil motives.
But in all this, God reassures the prophet. God does care deeply (“is very jealous”) for Jerusalem and Judah. And He is angry with the nations that have been their persecutors. God will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and goodness will overflow.
God solemnly promises to restore Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. This was an especially comforting promise considering the lowly condition of the cities of the Promised Land in Zechariah’s day.
About four years from the time of this prophecy Zion was comforted and Jerusalem was specially chosen – the temple was rebuilt four years after Zechariah gave this prophecy.
A Vision of Being Rescued

In the second vision Zach sees four horns that most people say represent the world powers that will hold political domination over Jerusalem. The horn symbolism is used in the same way in Daniel 7 & 8.
Zechariah also sees four craftsmen/carpenters. These are workmen, bearing heavy hammers or chisels, whose function it is to throw down the “horns of the nations” that have acted against Jerusalem. 
Thus God shall rescue His people from their oppressors as history marches towards its intended end. God promises to break the power of those who use their power against God’s people. But as Romans 12 warns, vengenance is the Lord’s. It is God that shall do the rescueing from our oppressors!

Lord of hosts, God Almighty, thank You for what You are doing at St. Philip’s an for the series of Beyond Ourselves. I pray that more opportunities will open up a Dawson, not only in 8a but throughout the whole jail, men and women. Grant that I might be able to get connected with Stek in exactly the place You have for me. 

Also, just as You were able to infuse divine momentum into the weary and impoverished Jews to rebuild the temple and their relationships with You, be with St. Philip’s as we reach out to the people in the Bright Zone. I pray you will bless Harrington/family and draw them to Yourself. Encourage Clay and the rest of the staff, that joy would be their portion. We love You Lord. Amen.
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